“How to Retain Workers in the ‘Next Normal'” by Greg Dyer via Total Retail

“How to Retain Workers in the ‘Next Normal'” by Greg Dyer via Total Retail

The dust from the pandemic is finally settling, but a new storm is gathering for employers. U.S. quit rates are higher than ever, with an eye-popping 95 percent of workers saying they’re considering changing jobs.

If 2020 was full of talk about how to attract talent during a global pandemic, then 2021 will be about how to keep them during “The Great Resignation” that followed.

With the clock ticking, now is the time to re-evaluate your retention strategy and implement these practices to improve your retention.

Invest in Mental Health

Forty-two percent of adults reported increased feelings of anxiety and depression during the pandemic. When you consider that the global cost of poor mental health exceeds $2.5 trillion annually, investing in the health and wellness of your team isn’t just the right thing to do — it’s sound business as well.

The good news is that companies have been rising to the occasion. In our recent next-normal survey, 41 percent of workers told us that their employers had started offering new health and wellness benefits in 2020. It’s a good start, but retaining talent in 2021 will require even greater buy-in from employers.

Related story: Ways to Attract Skilled Talent in Today’s Tight Labor Market

Recognize Hard Work

Studies have shown that showing gratitude to employees increases productivity, but keeping top performers on their game (and at your organization) takes more than just an award or acknowledgement of their hard work. As always, actions speak louder than words: Give them a platform to inspire others through attending events or leading presentations as a concrete demonstration of your faith in them.

For newer or lower-performing workers, consider developing a process for mapping out goals that makes the process rewarding and fun. Sometimes, a perceived lack of motivation can be solved by providing a little more clarity around the pathway forward. Outline management’s expectations across each rung of the advancement ladder, and communicate how each step builds upon the next toward success.

Provide Flexible Scheduling

When it comes to retention, compensation has long been king, but the first real threat to the crown is starting to emerge. Seventy-two percent of workers said they value work-life balance compared to 69 percent who favored a high salary. As an employer, one of the best ways to provide that balance is by introducing more flexible working arrangements. Seventy-one percent of employees said they now expect flexible scheduling as we emerge from the pandemic. Therefore, if you’re looking to retain talent today, it’s a critical incentive you can’t afford to ignore.

Whether it’s through full-time remote positions or a hybrid blend of on- and off-site workers, giving employees the option to work within whichever model they prefer can help you keep engagement levels high and stave off costly turnover. A word of caution, however: As more organizations adopt a hybrid approach, older workers feel less than enthused about having to rely on technology more than they did before the pandemic. In fact, our next-normal survey found that 35 percent of workers aged 45–54 said the increased reliance on technology was worrisome. Make sure all employees feel supported in their flexible workspace and ensure that you’re providing adequate resources and IT support.

The Great Resignation may have made its initial mark on history, but the impact it has on your organization is entirely up to you. By keeping these retention best practices in mind as you set out to retain talent this year, I’m confident you can emerge with an even stronger team than before.

Greg Dyer leads Randstad’s in-house services concept and enterprise strategic accounts team, where he is responsible for strategic commercial sales, client delivery and account management for many of Randstad’s largest, most complex clients.

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